The mission of SOAR is to provide professional training, resources, support, and funding that enables afterschool providers to implement and facilitate quality programs resulting in a holistic impact on the lives of youth and families.
The quality of a successful afterschool program lies in the strength of its leadership, program staff, community support, partnerships, and resources.
The Myth: Afterschool is a babysitter for parents, or afterschool is free childcare until parents get off from work.
The Truth: Afterschool programs (sometimes called OST or Out-of-School Time programs) serve children and youth of all ages. These programs encompass a broad range of focus areas, including academic support, mentoring, arts, sports and recreation, positive youth development, apprenticeships, career and college preparedness, workforce development programs, parent engagement, and programs for youth who are not in school are eligible for the workforce, and youth experiencing homelessness.
The activities children and youth engage in outside of school hours are critical to their overall development, highlighting the need for quality afterschool programs in all communities. The demand for afterschool programs is strong, with nearly 10.2 million children and youth participating in afterschool programs annually, with approximately 10 million in summer camps and 6 million in other centers.
In Charlotte alone, the programs range from Academic, Enrichment, Fine Arts, Sports, and STEAM, year round, summer only, free to fee-based. Programs are grassroots, local, national, and located throughout Charlotte, Mecklenburg, and surrounding areas. For more information, see our partner page to learn about programs in the Charlotte area.